Rajit Sengupta | 03 Mar 2009

Do films influence real life or real life influences films? Some case studies.

Are films influenced by life or vice versa?


By Prashant Singh in New Delhi

THE Mumbai terror attack on Wednesday would definitely ring a bell on the minds of the people who have watched the Naseeruddin Shah-starrer crossover hit, A Wednesday!

In this Neeraj Pandey-directed film, Shah plays the common man who is fed up with the repeated terror attacks and decides to take things up to make a difference. He poses to be a terrorist who plans to evacuate terrorists from the jails in Mumbai, to eventually get them killed. He uses a leading TV news channel to keep a track on the police movement.

And it seems news channels in real life have taken a leaf out of the film. Several channels have staunchly refused to air sensitive footage fearing wrong usage of the clips by terrorists. It’s almost as if sensitised by the terrorist’s game plan in the film, channels in real life have consciously held back information on the commando operations from being aired. The channels fear the footages would help the terrorists monitor the security operations.

“Hindi films depict the happenings of the real life without any intention to inspire anyone — positively or negatively. I think as a motion picture industry, you can’t run away from showing the facts but, in the process, if someone gets inspired, a filmmaker can’t do anything about it,” explains film expert Taran Adarsh.

The similarity isn’t just limited to how a terrorist can use the media to its advantage; even the flashes of terror, nervousness, insecurity, tension and threats bear a striking resemblance to Pandey’s film.

The film shows a Wednesday afternoon when a senior citizen, played by Naseer, threatens to blow up Mumbai using bombs planted in various places all over the city. He tells the Mumbai Police that his demand is the release of the four top terrorists, who have been arrested in the past. He eventually tries to kill the four terrorists as he confesses he got fed up with the way the police handled terrorism.

“Terrorism has always been in news in some form or the other. It’s not something which has happened only now,” said actor Aamir Bashir, who played a police inspector in the film.

Not long back, similarities were drawn between the plotline of Ram Gopal Varma’s Contract and the Ahmedabad serial blasts.

The film showed terrorists plant bombs to blow-up hospitals along with crowded places, to ensure the injured have nowhere to go. Later, even the Police reportedly believed the cowardly acts in Ahmedabad were distinctly influenced by the film.